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Finance & Advisory Board Mtg

Apr 7 2017 - 9:00am
Apr 7 2017 - 10:30am

Finance Committee Meeting
Minutes of Meeting 4/07 & 4/10/2017

Aquinnah Town Hall Selectmen’s Mtg Room

Members present: Allen Rugg, Chairman*,Tom Murphy, Mark Foster.
Also present: Town Administrator Adam Wilson, Town Accountant Emily Day, Selectman Jim Newman, Jay MacLeod, DPW Director Jay Smalley, Town Clerk Carolyn Feltz, Police Chief Randhi Belain
*On speaker phone
The meeting began at 9:05 am.
-Allen asked Tom to chair the meeting since he was not present.
-1st on the agenda under Old Business was a review of the minutes from 3/31.
Allen motioned to accept the minutes from March 31st. Mark seconded.
The Committee voted 3 – 0 in favor. The motion passed.
1st on the agenda was a review of the TA position. Adam explained why the position should have reduced hours. He explained the proposal of having available funds from the reduced hours for the town to hire both a front desk receptionist and several board administrators to handle the work load his position currently handles, leaving the TA’s job to primarily focus on the Selectmen’s agenda, contracts, correspondence with various officials and liaison work representing the town at various meetings, functions and events. He explained that the new hires would not be benefited jobs (20+ hours a week), and that the TA job would still be salaried so that what administrative work/oversight is needed will be maintained.
There was a discussion about the various stipends that are in the TA’s contract. Tom stated the FinCom’s role was to review budgets and find ways to save money for the tax payers.

-Jim talked about the amount of work the TA job has. Mark said it will be a leap of faith to allow the position to go to part time by the town and what will happen during the transition.
-Next was a review of the Selectmen’s budget. Adam pointed out the increases were for Selectmen salaries (2.5%), $500 additional for Palmer Lot car maintenance and an increase in the stipend for the webmaster (2.5%).

-Next on the agenda was a review of the Town Clerk’s position. Carolyn requested that the position’s hours be increased from 12 to 15 per week. It’s been the same for years and the position has grown in responsibility. Emily said the hourly pay rate has gone up. Carolyn looked at a comparison of Chilmark’s TC s hours as well as the other island towns. Chilmark’s Clerk currently works 21 hours per week.

-Adam pointed out that the Clerk has to come to the FinCom for approval of her budget because the position is elected. She listed the numerous tasks the position has on a daily basis.

-Next on the agenda was a review of the DPW Director’s budget. Jay proposed the Director’s hours Increase from 35 to 40 and the Assistant Director’s position from 25 to 30 hours a week for 48 weeks instead of the currently budgeted 42. He said the volume of work has increased to merit the increase in hours Jay talked about having supervision of both the town custodians and the Lighthouse Keeper. The demand for services was discussed. Road &Vehicle maintenance were talked about. Adam said there is a possibility that the State DOT might be leaving the island.
-Allen asked that Jay look at his budget and create a priority of what essential needs have to increase the most and what can be held back. Jay said the consolidated report can be looked at again. Emily said she will go through the budget again with Jay. The oversight of the cemetery was reviewed. The cost to participate in training exercises was discussed as well as the dollar amounts for town insurance.

-Next on the schedule was a review of the police budget. The increase in the Police Chief’s salary was discussed. Jim talked about paying to keep the police force together is a good for the community. There was discussion about what the FinCom has authority over and contractual obligations entered into by the town (Personal Services Contracts/CBA’s). The departmental “call out” program was explained.
A breakdown of expenses was looked at. Randhi went through what constituted “supplies”. Emily expressed her concern about the initial police department request being a $13K increase and now after negotiating a new contract, it is a $45K increase. There was discussion about salary increases going up for all departmental members because of the new CBA. Randhi said the departmental expenses only went up 1% but salaries will impact the budget for the next three years. Emily said the police expense budget usually comes under and that helps significantly when budget adjustments occur at the end of the fiscal year.
-Adam went through the spending articles on the warrant. There was discussion about the Assessors article that has contingencies in it going beyond what the town is paying the appraisal in the contract.
-Adam explained the Compensated Absence Balance fund article.
-The Committee reviewed the meeting the Selectmen had with school officials.
-The Committee agreed to continue the meeting to Monday.

-Tom asked if there was any other business to come before the committee. Hearing none, a motion was made and seconded to recess until Monday, April 10th @ 9:00 am
The Committee voted 3 – 0. The motion passed.
-The meeting ended at 10:32 am

Finance Committee Meeting
Minutes of Meeting 4/10/2017
Aquinnah Town Hall Selectmen’s Mtg Room

Members present: Allen Rugg, Chairman, Tom Murphy*, Mark Foster.
Also present: Town Administrator Adam Wilson, Town Accountant Emily Day, Selectman Jim Newman, Jay MacLeod, DPW Director Jay Smalley, Assessor Angela Cywinski, Assessor Mike Stutz*
*On speaker phone
-In Old Business, Allen said he reviewed the increase in the Town Administrator’s salary based on Adam’s proposal and it was 2.4%. He stated that Emily and Jay have reviewed the DPW budget proposal and have recaptured about $12K from the proposal.
-Next on the agenda was a meeting with the Assessor. Angela gave a little background about herself and then said
that Jo Anne Graziano from DOR said there is no open investigations ongoing and that there are no defficiencies. She let the committee know she was hired in 2007. She said, “the burden of valuing the town is my responsibility.”
-Allen asked about the reval article in the warrant being $29,700. Angela said there was only one return bid and that was from Vision Appraisal. She explained that the Vision portion is $26,700 + $1,000 for a RE Consultant who will evaluate the business personal properties in Aquinnah. There is also another $2K to be held in reserve for contingencies, including possible mapping and/or reval work for the solar array and the lighthouse.
-Allen asked about personal property assessments. Angela said she does it July 1 and January 1.
-There was discussion about Angela needing a car to do her field work and possibly getting one from the town.
-Michael phoned in. There was discussion about several employees needing a town vehicle to conduct business. Can the town reimburse for extra insurance?
-Angela talked about the 175 inspections that need to be done this summer with the reval. She said the inspections take 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the size of the house. Elise said it would take 35 hours to do all of them.
-Allen talked about the budget proposals from all town offices need to being submitted for review and any issues need to go back to their respective boards/committees for further review.
-Angela said the Assessor’s proposal requests another 2 hours per week in the salary line item = $64,661.18. She said she’s kept a time attendance work log and every year she compiles 150 – 200 as comp time. There was discussion that boat excise tax billing going into effect this summer. Angela said she’s behind in getting the personal property/vessel excise work done. The billing occurs July 1 with an owner’s boat in the water or where it is principaly trailered. She said the 2 additional hours will help with the work load. Michael said the revenue will match or outweigh the $4K requested in additional salary.
-The $3,000 warrant article for Assessor education was briefly discussed.

-Next on the agenda was a meeting with Emily and Jay for the DPW budget. She said the proposal has been reduced by $12K. The work at the cemetery was more a project to be done and could be a free cash warrant article. Jay explained the heavy brush cutting that needs to be done will cost $2K. He went through the different line items that were revisited that could be reduced.
-Adam talked about the Assistant DPW Director’s position, its job responsibilities and the possibility of it having to be advertised. Jay said that there is more work to do because of the ConCom/Tinker Weed propagation project at the Head.

-The overall budget was reviewed. Emily showed what would need to be cut from the budget in order to get to 2.5%. The police budget was talked about and its salary increases over the next 3 years.
-The fire department’s budget had not yet been submitted. Adam said Simon’s contract is still being negotiated.
-Emily said the compensation scale seems to be set and the scale for the Health Agent has been determined. The different regional assessments were talked about. Wendy asked if the remaining free cash could go back into the budget to help reduce the tax rate. Emily explained how free cash comes about. Wendy asked about the budget for the police department’s expensesand why is it $35K? She was also critical of the number of cars the department has. She complained that no one says no to spending and that comparisons to other towns are not fair.
Jay said the example of the savings from a review of the DPW budget should be done for all the budgets.
-Allen said the process is still new and ongoing. There was discussion about checks & balances.
-There was discussion about community programs and its costs. Recreational programs and their costs were talked about. Having a Park & Rec committee for oversight purposes was discussed.
-There was a review of the warrant articles for senior tax abatements. Elise said the tax savings would not amount to more than a $10K loss in revenue. Elise said she’s trying to save for those 65+ who want to continue to live in their homes. There was discussion about what would happen if the override fails at the polls. Adam said he’d find out.
-The Committee agreed to meet again Friday, April 14th @ 9:00 am
-Allen asked if there was anything else to come before the committee. Hearing none, a motion was made and seconded to adjourn.
The Committee voted 3 – 0 in favor. The motion passed.

-The meeting adjourned at 10:53 am